In case you’re wondering what a learning tower is; it is a safe and secure platform designed specifically for toddlers and children. With this, you can raise a child to a bench height so that they can engage better and safely with the world around them.
It’s important to have a learning tower at home when you have toddlers. As a parent, you must be familiar with children’s ways of craving attention.
You’re in the kitchen preparing meals, let’s say dinner, and your little toddler is at your leg screaming, dragging your clothes, and crying to be picked up and be involved in what you are doing.
You agree with us that this makes dinner time more stressful than it ought to be right? Many parents don’t know that raising them up to your level will calm the chaos.
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These funny behaviors are common among toddlers, they love to be involved in adult activities, and they want to see what you are doing. And this is a good thing because it is all part of their learning process.
A learning tower will help your toddler watch and learn safely while you do your work.
It raises your toddler at bench height thereby enabling him/her to engage in the activities they love, like preparing dinner or washing dishes.
Advantages Of Learning Towers
“Well, I can use a chair or even a stool” you might think. But those are not safe, if you’ve had few close calls to them slipping off the chairs or stools, you will agree with us that it is not the best idea.
There are many stories of children falling off and even breaking their bones. Some even get injured when trying to climb up the counters. So to prevent all these accidents and the costs they bring (hospital bills), it is safer to get a learning tower for your curious toddler.
This is the best option for your child, for you, and for your family because safety is the main reason and advantage of a learning tower.
Learning towers are safe and secure platforms made of hardwood or plastics. They secure children by providing a safe space with barriers that help in preventing any possible fall.
There are many varieties of learning towers, some models are designed to grow with your child simply by moving the adjustable platform which was put there for protection.
As your toddler grows, you will lower the platform to prevent tip-overs or them trying to climb out of the learning tower.
When To Use A Learning Tower
The recommended age of using a learning tower is when a child is 18 months old and this depends on the model you get. Children less than 18 months can use Slimline models.
But as soon as your child can stand solidly and starts showing interest in joining in your activities, you should start using a learning tower.
And remember that children need adult supervision when on the learning tower.
Is A Learning Tower Worth it?
This is the best investment you can make if you have a toddler. Many people ask this question a lot when they consider the costs, and it also seems they can do without it or use chairs and stools instead.
But apart from the safety this brings, it is the biggest parenting hack by far. It saves your sanity (you don’t have to worry about your child falling off and breaking bones), it prevents unplanned costs (hospital bills), and then it provides a safe learning experience for your child.
Your child will enjoy being at the same level as you, to see what you are doing (and learn by seeing), and even participate if possible. A learning tower will also save you from multiple tantrums.
You can’t even doubt the safety of a learning tower because your toddler can’t run off easily from the tower. So, for instance, you are cutting bananas (using a safe knife for kids of course), your toddler can’t just start running around with the knife in the blink of an eye.
And they can’t crawl to a hot stove while on a learning tower.
Same for parents who are into craft with their kids, the learning tower will contain your toddler and the mess. Your floor and walls will thank you and you won’t spend much time and energy cleaning.
Another amazing thing about learning towers is that you can use them for a long time, some can even last more than 5 years. It can serve all your kids and their resale value will be good even after 2 years of hard use and lots of water spills.
Where You Can Use A Learning Tower
You can use a learning tower in these places:
- The kitchen
- The bathroom
- Some dining tables
- The garage workbench
- Your art room or workshop
And anywhere that you are working and your toddler wants to get involved. Like we’ve stated above, these “little big people” (toddlers) just want to be involved in what you are doing.
They believe that there is a lot of fun happening right up there on the bench and they hate to miss out on it.
Learning Tower Activities
Below are some of the activities you can do with a toddler or older children (3 to 5 years old) on a learning tower:
- Magnet play on the fridge
- Drawing on windows and mirrors
- Brushing teeth and washing hands
- Cleaning, doing the dishes, and helping with other daily chores
- Helping with food preparations like washing, sorting, and even cutting using a safe child tool
- Stirring ingredients, rolling dough, etc.
- Water play in the sink
- Pretend play (wash the dishes)
- Arts and crafts
- Cooking and baking, etc.
What To Look For Or Consider When Purchasing A Learning Tower
You must consider the following if you want to get the right learning tower for your toddler.
- It should have very few gaps on all sides except the entry point.
- It should be light to carry. You shouldn’t have to drag a heavy tower around the house
- It should be easy for your child to climb in and out when they want to use it.
- It should be narrow and slim
- It must have an adjustable platform, this is a must.
- Then another feature you should look out for is a folding model. This is very advantageous for space.
- Consider the space in your home when buying a learning tower, this is very important.
- If you have limited space in your kitchen, you should consider the Simplay3 tower.
The Best Learning Towers For Toddlers
This is our top pick because it is one of the best learning towers out there. Here are some of the things we love about this brand of learning tower:
- It is long-lasting
- It is slim and can fit into tight places perfectly
- It is light and you can easily push it with your child on it. For instance, you are standing at the kitchen counter cutting bananas and your toddler joins you. When you are done, you can push it over to the sink with her in it so that she can wash her hands.
- It is easy to clean and wash. Simplay3 toddler tower is made of hard plastic which is easy to clean. It is also resistant to water spills and highly durable.
- Toddlers can easily climb in and out by themselves.
- They can never topple over no matter how hard they try
- It has adjustable height. With this, you can adjust it as your toddler grows. This is also very important for their safety.
For parents who prefer wooden learning towers to plastics, this is our first pick. You will love everything about this wooden learning tower.
It is of superior quality made from quality wood and comes in 4 different shades (Natural, Gray, Ivory, and White). The Guidecraft Tower is even a folding learning tower because you can fold it flat.
It has an anti-slip mat and you can adjust the platform. It can support up to 200 lbs. You will love this learning tower for your toddler.
This is another great model from Guidecraft. It is made with solid pine wood and comes in 5 different shades (honey, Gray, Ivory, White, and Walnut).
You will love every feature of this learning tower. You can fold it flat, making it a folding learning tower, you can also adjust the platform and it has an anti-slip mat.
This is another quality learning tower for children that we will recommend to our readers. What we love about this model is the slim design, the adjustable platform, and it comes with an amazing bonus and guess what it is? A chalkboard!
This is considered the original learning tower and the best for holding multiples. It is a classic learning tower for children. It is the largest and can hold weight at 500 lbs and can even carry 2 kids with ease.
There are a few attachments on this tower to convert it to a chalkboard or an easel. It has an adjustable height and even won the award for ‘best toddler tower for multiple kids to stand in’.
The little partner is bigger than the Guidecraft Kitchen Helper which also has a double option.
This is the best learning tower for minimalist moms and it is good for small spaces. It has adjustable height, steps for increased dependence, and it is easy to clean.
It has clean lines and 3 adjustable height settings. It is free of VOCs, lead, and other harmful chemicals that can harm children and even adults. Toddlers can get it and out easily via the little stairs.
This is a non-folding learning tower though.
This incredible learning tower for children puts safety before anything else. One of the most important advantages of this brand is that it has 4 adjustable height settings.
The learning tower is also made from non-toxic materials. It can be quickly and easily assembled when bought and these and many more gave this brand a spot on our list.
If you are looking for an excellent choice that grows with your toddler, then go for this. It has 3 adjustable height settings and sturdy. It has safety bars that you can screw in place and it is very easy to assemble.
This brand is made from solid natural wood and it has a lead-free coating. This ensures that your children are safe from toxic materials. It can support up to 150 lbs.
DIY Learning Tower
For those of us with the DIY gene, anything we see and like, we can make it. A learning tower is not different from this especially if you are good with woodwork.
Also, DIY learning towers are cheaper. While the already made ones sell for $200, you can make yours with $30 to $35 including the stool. It will even be cheaper if you are repurposing existing materials.
You can do this even if you are not good with woodwork and it’s something that can be done in a day.
- Wood glue
- One –Ikea Bekvam stool
- Two –2X3 -96” Select Kiln dried whitewood studs (the round edges are an advantage)
- One -1- ¼ in.X48 in. hardwood round dowel
- One package –3 in. non-mortise hinges (2 hinges)
- One –gate latch
- Misc screws (8X1”, 5X2.5”, 14X3.5”, #10 screws)
- Tape measure
- Saw (you can make your cuts with a hand saw and miter box)
- Drill and drill bits (if you are using 3” or 3.5” screws, you will need a longer drill for pilot holes than you currently have)
Check the instruction manual that came with the tool and follow the assembly instructions. The directions are straightforward. Ensure that the legs are leaning the correct way.
Once you’ve assembled the stool, measure the distance between the top of the stool and the top of the counter. When you’ve finished the measurement, remove the top step of the stool.
Now it’s time for trimming and cutting. Start with just seven 16” stud cuts and then measure the remaining distances for the other cuts when the first 4 studs are attached to the base.
Know that store-purchased lumber is not perfectly straight, so the distances might be slightly off if you cut them based on the dimensions of the top of the stool.
2” X 3” Stud
- Seven 16” (or whatever distance you measured between the top of the stool and the counter height) segments
- One 13 7/8” segment
- Four 4 3/8” segments
- Three 6 ¼” segments
In this stage, you set the corners and rear assembly.
First, line up 4 of the 2” X 3” with one in each of the corners. Trace the outlines with a pencil once you’ve positioned them. Remove the corners and replace them after you’ve put a line of wood glue within the outline you traced.
While waiting for the glue to dry, line up the component of the rare gate. Take two 2” X 3” segments and place them behind the rear corners, the long edge should be parallel to the rear edge of the top step.
Place a third segment slightly to the right of the left segment. Leave a little room so that the gate can swing open and closed without touching the left segment.
Once you’ve set everything, measure the distance between the right segment and the middle segment. Then cut three pieces of dowel to this length.
The last stage in this step is to lay out the dowel pieces between the two 2” X 3” segments and then clamp everything together. Drill pilot holes through the side segments into each side of the dowels.
Take a drill bit with a similar diameter to your screw heads and use this to drill a shallow cavity that allows the screw heads to sit flush. Once everything is secured, line up the rear pieces again to see if everything is sized correctly.
When the glue dries, flip the top step over so that it rests on the 2” X 3” segments and then drill 2 pilot holes in each corner. Remember to countersink the screws again using a drill bit that is the same diameter as the screw head to drill a shallow cavity that will allow the screw head to sit flush.
If you don’t do this, the top step will not attach to the rest of the stool properly.
After screwing in the corner post, you measure the distance between the far edges of the front corner segments. This will be your length of the final 2” X 3” segment (13 and 7/8”).
After cutting this segment, screw it onto the front with one screw on each side.
The next thing to do is to measure the distance between the corners and cut 2 pieces of dowel for each side. Clamp these into their place and secure them with screws.
Ensure that the dowels are at least 3 to 4” from the top and the bottom when placing the dowels on the side. This will prevent the screws that secure the dowels in place from interfering with the placement of the hinges for the rear gate.
This step is about corner smoothing. While the sides of the 2” X 3” are already smoothed, the cut sides will still have sharp edges. With a router bit, you will properly create round edges.
If you don’t have one, you can use the standing attachment on a Dremel to sand down all of the sharp edges. Make sure you wear a mask when doing step 5 because it creates a fair amount of sawdust.
This protects your lungs and reduces the risks of inhaling saw dusts.
This step is all about attaching the rear gear and latch.
To do this, lay the assembly on the front side and use the clamps to hold the left segment of the rear assembly to the rear left corner and attach with screws.
Use a clamp to hold a hinge to the top of the right rear corner piece and use the screws to secure it. Start with the center screw in case you need to adjust the alignment later.
Do the same on the bottom with the other hinge.
Once you’ve secured the hinges to the corner side, hold the hinges against the gate using clamps and secure them with screws. Close the gate and hold it in line using a clamp with the leftmost piece.
Attach the gate latch and catch and then you check to see if it opens or closes easily. If you are happy with the alignment, go back and secure the other hinge screws.
Then re-attach the whole assembly to the stool base. Your DIY learning tower is ready.
If you want to save a little money, you can skip the dowel and use the 2” X 3” in place of it. You will have enough to replace all of the dowel segments.
If you are not fine with the natural look, you can coat the learning tower or paint it to give the finishing touch you want. But remember to remove the gate latch and hinges before you paint.
You can attach hooks to the other sides to hold things like utensils or spatula if your child is older. And always remember to supervise your child when using the learning tower.
From this post, you’ve seen that a learning tower is not just a piece of furniture or a waste of money. It is all about safety for your kids. With this, your child will love his/her new perspective of the world around them.
You will end up using it multiple times a day, for many kinds of activities especially if you have curious toddlers.
We hope this post answers all your questions about learning towers for children. If you have any questions or any model you’ve used and want to share with us please let us know in the comment section.